Visiting Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho

For a few years now I had heard that Idaho had really epic sand dunes but we just never made the stop until recently. Bruneau Dunes State Park is located just off Interstate 84 and a short drive from Boise, Idaho and Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho (both popular destinations we’d recommend). 

Idaho is one of those states we visited for the first time way back in 2013 and it blew us away back then. Every visit we’ve made since then has left us wanting more. From Boise to the Sawtooth Mountains to Coeur d’Alene and the mountains in the panhandle, this state has so much to offer! 

Truthfully, before I visited Idaho my knowledge of the state was 1) potatoes, and 2) Napoleon Dynamite. While I love both, that’s such an insult to Idaho because it’s incredibly jam packed with adventure, food, friendly people, and more.

When to Visit

Big Dune at Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho
Climbing sand dunes in Idaho
Sand Dunes Hiking Trailhead, Idaho

Idaho gets really cold in the winter and really hot in the summer. Ideally you’d be visiting Bruneau Dunes State Park in the spring or fall, but summer would work, too! I wouldn’t necessarily plan on visiting in the winter because there’s a good chance that instead of sand you’d see snow. 

If you do decide to visit in the summer, do keep in mind that sand gets hot and you’ll need to visit prepared.

What to do in Bruneau Dunes State Park

Dog friendly Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park, Idaho
Climbing sand dunes to sandboard, Idaho

Hiking, cycling, horseback riding, camping, bird watching, and more can be found when visiting Bruneau Dunes State Park. However, our personal recommendation would be to rent a board from the visitors center and go sandboarding down the dunes. It’s so much fun!!

Both sit down and stand up boards are available to rent at the visitors center. Boards are $15 each or $25 for 2 boards. Rentals are for the entire day so take as long with them as you would like!

We’d also recommend climbing on the dunes. Do keep in mind that the dunes are very exposed to the elements. Bring lots of water and wear sunscreen and/or a hat. Know your limitations and stay safe!

Our Experience at the Dunes

Sandboard in Idaho
Breneau Sand Dunes State Park, Idaho

First off, we didn’t have long enough to enjoy climbing around on the dunes. We stopped off while on a road trip through Idaho. Originally we only planned to stretch our legs for a couple of hours and keep driving. In hindsight I wish we had camped there for a couple of days to hike to the top of the tallest dune and enjoy more of the prairies around the park.

While we didn’t have too long when visiting Bruneau Dunes State Park, we had so much fun! We climbed around on the dunes, ran down then, and sandboarded down them. Oh, and the dunes are dog friendly!! Our dog Kramer loves sand so he was thrilled to get to run and play in it with us. Just remember to keep your dog leashed and clean up after them. ;) 

If you’re looking for a complete guide to help you plan your stay at the dunes, we’d recommend this blog post.

Other Things to do Near Bruneau Dunes State Park

While the dunes are a destination in and of themselves, there are lots of other things to do within a couple of hours of the park. The Sawtooth Mountain Range, Craters of the Moon, Boise, Sun Valley, and so much more! 

If you’re planning to visit Bruneau Dunes State Park during a big west coast road trip, we can’t recommend visiting Grand Teton and Glacier National Park enough. By west coast road trip standards, they’re really not that far from Bruneau Dunes. ;) 

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Visiting Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho
Visiting Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho
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